After the frustrations of Spa last weekend, things looked to be on the up for Mitch at Monza when the Pertamina Campos Racing driver ran strongly in practice and qualifying and posted a time of 1min 31.666s to go fifth quickest, 4/10ths off the pole lap set by Pierre Gasly. He gained a further position on the grid when Antonio Giovinazzi was later penalised for running insufficient tyre pressures.
"It was nice being competitive in Monza and having a strong free practice and qualifying on Friday. I lined up fourth for the feature race but unfortunately I had an issue with the clutch at the start and dropped back a few positions. My pace was OK and I was able to hold position coming into the pit stops. After the stop, I wasn’t entirely sure what position I was in but there was a lot of confusion when the safety car came out which meant the drivers who started on the prime tyres had won themselves a pit stop without losing any time or track position. It cost me at least three places and I finished the race eighth. We weren’t overly fast so I think that’s where we realistically were on pace.
Mitch was looking forward to a clean start to today’s sprint race but too much wheelspin off the line saw him quickly passed by the two Racing Engineering cars of Jordan King and Norman Nato. Mitch and Luca Ghiotto rubbed wheels as they all headed for the first chicane and although they got through there cleanly, it all went pear-shaped at turn four when Ghiotto was hit by Oliver Rowland and Mitch was spun into the gravel by Gustav Malja. Ghiotto and Evans were out on the spot and Rowland and Malja was later given 10-second time penalties for their discretions.
"Starting today’s sprint race on pole was a nice change and I was obviously hoping to get a good result from it. I knew we had to make improvements to have a chance of staying at the front. I didn’t make a great start, the clutch was fine but I got a lot of initial wheelspin while the guys around me got really strong starts which made it worse. I dropped to fourth going into the first chicance which I held but was then hit from behind which was completely out of my control and ended my race. If I hadn’t made such a bad start then I probably wouldn’t have been in that position but that’s the way it happened unfortunately. Another disappointing weekend.”
Mitch now has a three week break before the penultimate round of the GP2 Series at Malaysia on October 1/2.